Read more about all C2L findings in “What Difference Can ePortfolio Make?”
As outlined in Proposition #1 and Proposition #2, C2L findings show that ePortfolio use can advance student success and deep learning. Supporting college efforts to meet the “Completion” and “Quality” agendas, ePortfolio initiatives can also address a “Change” agenda, helping institutions respond to disruptive change, engage campus expertise, and advance innovation focused on student learning.
Growing an ePortfolio initiative demands sustained work. On C2L campuses, the work of ePortfolio teams extended beyond pedagogy and individual faculty. Working with faculty, staff, departments and college leadership, C2L teams address institutional structure and culture from multiple angles.To make ePortfolio work, they must connect (in some cases rethink) professional development, instructional technology, outcomes assessment and key curricular structures.
Such collaboration results not only in robust and meaningful ePortfolio initiatives. It can also engage diverse campus groups in a sustained and purposeful conversation about student learning. On C2L campuses, this conversation has catalyzed changes that go beyond ePortfolio itself, helping the institution strengthen what could be understood as a campus-wide ethos of learning. A few samples suggest the range of changes that can emerge:
At Northeastern University, Education faculty using ePortfolio in outcomes assessment gained a deeper understanding of student learning, and re-structured their entire curriculum to make it more integrative and effective.
At Connecticut’s Three Rivers Community College, the ePortfolio effort had been limited to the Nursing program, but their integrative approach to teaching, learning and assessment is now expanding to college-wide General Education. “In the past year,” the C2L team there recently wrote, “the ePortfolio project at TRCC has catalyzed broader, institution-wide change, helping us progress as a learning-centered college.”
At Manhattanville College, cross-campus ePortfolio-related faculty development seminars sparked faculty interest in a more sustained focus on integrative learning and teaching, which in turn generated administrative support. The College made a commitment to launch and support a new campus-wide Center for Teaching and Learning, responsible for ePortfolio and broader pedagogical inquiry.
At LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) the ePortfolio team has long encouraged teaching, learning and assessment focused on the whole student. In 2012, the College announced sweeping institutional changes reflecting similar perspectives: aligning Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, rethinking advisement and reinventing the First Year Experience. ePortfolio’s capacity to highlight holistic learning, link curricular and co-curricular experiences and support identity development can help create bridges between academic and student affairs.
The stories of C2L campuses demonstrate that an effective ePortfolio initiative requires coordinated work across divisions. This work has the capacity to serve as a catalyst for broader change, pulling institutions towards what Randy Bass calls “the learning-centered paradigm.” Advancing an integrative culture of learning, an ePortfolio initiative can help the institution itself become a learner, focused on making the changes needed to more effectively help students learn and succeed.
Click here to read the full essay examining the C2L findings, “What Difference Can ePortfolio Make? A Field Report from the Connect to Learning Project” in a special research issue of the International Journal of ePortfolio (IJeP) co-sponsored by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).
To learn more about the work required to build a successful ePortfolio initiative, explore the Catalyst Framework.